New Methods of HPTLC in Plant Extract Analysis?
Plants have been part of human civilization for a long time. Ancient civilizations used plant extracts as food, medicine, and beverages. Leaves, fruit, flower, and bark are the most commonly used to extract plant-based compounds. Compounds and extracts derived from plants are used as drugs. Some applications are the food industry, traditional medicines, cosmetic formulation, and paints.
Now that plant extracts have great use in various fields, let us learn about what they are and analyze them.
What are Plant extracts?
Plant extracts are concentrated preparations formed through an extraction and separation process used by plant raw materials. Extraction of medicinal plant material is the separation of active materials or secondary metabolites such as phenols, tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, and essential oils.
What is the method for the analysis of plant extracts?
Plant extracts are complex. It is a mixture of various components which need to be separated. For the separation purpose, chromatographic techniques such as High-Performance Thin-Layer (HPTLC) can be used. The HPTLC method can analyze these extracts, such as HPTLC Fingerprinting. In fingerprint chromatography, plant extracts are dissolved in solvents like methanol or water-alcoholic solvent. The extract is run through a mobile phase and then separated by measuring affinities towards the adsorbent. The separation pattern observed is called the fingerprint of the said plant. Through fingerprint patterns, we can check for adulteration of the extracts.
HPTLC chemical analysis is most effective to determine major active constituents of medicinal plants. The separation and resolution are clearer, and the results are more reliable and reproducible than TLC. HPTLC analysis has the edge of in situ qualitative and quantitative dimensions by scanning densitometry. As a mega biodiversity nation, India is endowed with high species richness of medicinal plants. The growth of HPTLC analysis in Mumbai has helped in bringing to light the various bioactive plants in the surrounding Western Ghats, and Nilgiri Hills to be explored phytochemically with reference to secondary metabolites of medicinal importance.
Let us discuss one example about adulteration of turmeric scientific name: Curcuma longa. It has medicinal properties and is used in the food and pharmaceutical industry. It is prone to adulteration by substandard material or other species like Curcuma aromatica or Curcuma xanthorrhiza.
Other methods of HPTLC analysis for plant extracts include quantification of marker compounds from the extract, checking the quality of extracts, and detection of the class of compounds from a particular extract.